Massimiliano Allegri has insisted that Cristiano Ronaldo is “the future” of Juventus as they look to soothe their Champions League disappointment by lifting an eighth successive Serie A title.
Juve welcome Fiorentina to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday knowing victory will clinch another Scudetto four days after their hopes of European glory went up in smoke as Ajax claimed a famous quarter-final win in Turin.
Ronaldo scored home and away against the Dutch side, who went through on the away goals rule, but while acknowledging that the 34-year-old’s brilliance alone was not enough, manager Allegri predicted he will lead the fight once again next season.
He told a press conference: “Cristiano is the future of Juventus. He did very well this year and will do so the next. Of course he is disappointed, like all of us are, but he’s calm about it.
“Cristiano plus Juventus doesn’t equal a guaranteed Champions League – this is how football is. Now we have to move on and think about winning the Scudetto, which will be the result of a great season.”
Juve, who are 17 points clear of second-placed Napoli with six games remaining, passed up the opportunity to win the title last weekend when they were beaten 2-1 at SPAL, and Allegri wants to leave no margin for error this time around.
He said: “This year has been a great job, winning both the Super Cup and the Scudetto. The eighth consecutive Scudetto is a source of pride for all. Once it’s sealed, we all have to enjoy it, it wouldn’t make sense not to celebrate it.”
Allegri, however, will be without a host of players with Sami Khedira and Mattia Perin out for the remainder of the season and Mario Mandzukic likely to join them, and Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa and Martin Caceres also missing this weekend.
If Fiorentina are to delay the leaders’ march to glory, they will have to reverse a recent trend which has seen them win only once in 11 Serie A outings and not at all in their last nine games in all competitions, although they have drawn six of those.
Manager Vincenzo Montella, who guided them to a 4-2 Serie A win over Juventus in October 2013 during his first spell in charge, told Dazn: “The 4-2 win against Juve is probably the most thrilling game of my managerial career. We did something incredible. I knew we could do something great.”